Modern Gretsch Guitars

Cleaning the fretboard?


Maybe I haven’t given her a decent cleaning in awhile, but I have accumulated quite a bit of grime on the ol’ fretboard. I usually use the Martin clear polish for the boards and fastfret for the strings, but in this particular case, I’m not sure just polish will do. I was thinking of giving it a light scrub with 0000 grade steel wool, but figured I’d check with the experts before I do. So, any advice? My apologies, I did attempt to search this, but for what ever reason, I could not get past page one of the search.

It’s a 6128 57 reish if that makes any difference. It’s been a while since I posted, but I lurk and gig often with my Jet...


I like to use a rough paper towel to start. It’s abrasive enough to clean grit but won’t damage anything. Then just condition with Dunlop lemon oil, I’ve had great results with that. It’s a 2 pack; there’s a cleaner and the conditioner


Naphtha (lighter fluid) applied with paper towel and a lot of elbow grease will shift impacted dirt.

If the board looks a bit dry afterwards, apply fingerboard oil of your choice.

Like Chmason85, I like Dunlop Lemon Oil.

Apply the oil, let it soak in for several minutes, wipe off all the excess with paper towel and buff it up with a cotton cloth.


Naptha if you only wish to clean the fretboard, Gorgomyte if you also wish to clean the frets (without generating little steel-wool bits that will stick to your guitar's pickups).

My understanding is that the "lemon" oils marketed for fretboards are mostly mineral oil with a lemon fragrance. So maybe straight-up mineral oil, unscented, would also work.


I'd stay away from the steel wool. As pointed out, it sheds everywhere and will be all over your pickups. Naptha would be my choice for cleaning. I use mineral oil sparingly and wipe it down afterwards.


Good lemon oil and paper towel. The lemon helps remove the gunk and the oil helps dissolve it and conditions the wood.


Use Naptha for cleaning. Naptha is getting harder to find in some locales, due to VOC issues. I think I got the last can in CT. You can use 00 steel wool. Tape off your pickups with painter's tape and make sure that you vacuum just after you'r done using the steel wool. I do this when I need to and have never had a problem. Give the board a fresh drink of lemon oil after cleaning. Buff with a clean dry cloth, restring and enjoy.


Use Naptha for cleaning. Naptha is getting harder to find in some locales, due to VOC issues. Zigracer

Colman lantern and camping stove fuel is Naptha, I use it in my Zippo Pipe Lighter. It's the same thing as ordinary Lighter Fluid, but much less expensive.


A razor blade, if it's built up against the frets...usually only needed when I aquire a new used guitar. My guitars don't get very dirty because I change strings every 3 shows, and I polish the fingerboard with spraywax & a towel every time I change strings. I also put pure Canuba wax on the fingerboard a few times a year. My favorite luthier puts regular 3 in 1 oil on figerboards when he does frets & setups, and that's never bothered me either. If this is an ongoing problem for you...change your strings and/ or change your diet.

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